FINANCE

NRF: Halloween spending to rise in 2012

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Washington, D.C. — Survey results released Tuesday by the National Retail Federation found that 71.5% of Americans will celebrate Halloween this year, up from 68.6% last year and the most in NRF’s 10-year survey history.

The consumer spending survey conducted by BIGinsight also found the average person will spend $79.82 on decorations, costumes and candy, up from $72.31 last year, with total Halloween spending expected to reach $8.0 billion.

“By the time Halloween rolls around each year, it’s safe to say Americans have already spent two months preparing for one of the fastest-growing and most widely loved holidays of the year,” said NRF president and CEO Matthew Shay.

When it comes to looking for Halloween costume ideas, consumers say their biggest source of inspiration is what they see in a retail store or costume shop. More than one-third (35.7%) will look for new ideas in a store and nearly one-quarter (23.7%) will turn to their friends and family. Social media will also play a role in choosing costumes: 15.2% will check out Facebook for inspiration and 7.1% will scour Pinterest, found the survey.

Online searches will also be popular with celebrants: 33.3% say they will get their inspiration online. Of those buying or making costumes, the average person will spend $28.65 on costumes this year, up slightly from $26.52 in 2011.

Overall, consumers will spend billions on Halloween costumes this year. Families with children who plan to dress up for the holiday will spend a total of $1.1 billion on their children’s costumes, up slightly from $1.0 billion last year. Not to be outdone by their children, adults will spend $1.4 billion on vampire, witch and zombie costumes, up from $1.2 billion in 2011. More pets will hit the town this Halloween as well: pet owners plan to shell out $370 million on pint-sized costumes, up from $310 million in 2011.

Of the people celebrating Halloween this year, more than half (51.4%) will decorate their home or yard, up from 49.5% last year, and 45.0% plan to dress in costume, also up from last year (43.9%.) More than one-third (36.2%) will throw or attend a party and 33.2% will take children trick-or-treating. Additionally, 15.1% will dress their pets in costume.

Despite record spending figures for this year’s Halloween holiday, 25.9% of respondents say the state of the economy will impact their Halloween plans. To compensate, 18.0% will make a costume instead of buying one and over one-third (36.1%) will buy less candy.

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Apr-20-2013 10:55 pm

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REAL ESTATE

Staples unveils plan to close 60 stores, invest in online/mobile efforts

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Framingham, Mass. — Staples Inc. announced Tuesday a strategic plan to shore up sales and profitability that will involve accelerating the closure of 15 U.S. stores and 45 stores in Europe.

The office supplies retailer also said it will ramp up investment in its online and mobile efforts.

The announcement comes after a soft second quarter in which profit and traffic dipped downward.

In all, Staples said it will close about 30 U.S. stores this year, as well as relocate and downsize another 30. In Europe, all 45 closures are expected to occur prior to fiscal year-end.

Staples also announced that it has appointed John Wilson as president of Staples Europe, replacing Rob Vale who is retiring. Demos Parneros will lead U.S. retail and online efforts for Staples.

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News

Summer Infant retains investor relations firm

BY CSA STAFF

WOONSOCKET, R.I. — Summer Infant, a juvenile products manufacturer, today has retained Sharon Merrill (www.InvestorRelations.com), a nationally recognized investor relations and corporate communications firm based in Boston, to provide strategic investor relations services.

"We engaged Sharon Merrill to develop and execute a first-class strategic investor relations program for Summer Infant," said chairman and CEO Jason Macari. "Sharon Merrill’s expert counsel and deep experience with small-cap companies like Summer Infant will be significant assets in our effort to attract new investors while strengthening relationships with our existing shareholder base."

"We are delighted to be working with Summer Infant and communicating the Company’s performance and prospects to investors, analysts and other critical stakeholders," said Sharon Merrill president and partner Maureen Wolff. "We look forward to working with the Summer Infant management team to help drive shareholder value through an effective investor relations program."

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